Nope, not an extended version of our weekly video based feature, just episode forty expressed in Roman Numerals. After a few meandering videos of late its time to get back into the habit of dedicating this feature to Rovers upcoming opponents. Not because we feel we owe it to spread the love you understand, nor because we feel duty bound to honour our divisional comrades, but because its dawned on me that the season ends in a month and then this feature is going to become very difficult to fill with relevent clips during the Summer.
And so Viva Video XL focuses on Saturday’s opponents West Bromwich Albion. With The Hawthorns being the most easily accessible league ground from Viva Towers we are already as you read this psyching ourselves up for a journey North in the company of several thousand promotion expecting, and therefore not entirely sober, Baggies. Sharing a train carriage with four fans as our respective returns from Blackpool and Watford clashed on Monday was bad enough, this looks set to be the domestic railway equivalent of Dante’s Inferno.
So to try and appease our soon-to-be travelling companions here are two, yes two, videos of West Brom in enjoyable action. The first is the shorter and more recent of the two. I’m a sucker for a good teaser so if you title a video on YouTube as ‘The Best Goal Ever’ then you’re guaranteed a minute of my life. That is exactly what this vid was labelled, and though it may not be the best goal ever, its certainly a belter, made even sweeter in that it comes from a local derby too. Up against Wolverhampton Wanderers at The Hawthorns in 1993 Darren Bradley shows how to effectively finish a counter-attack.
Next up is a real classic from the early 70s pre-season institution that was The Watney Cup. Perhaps ‘institution’ is a bit strong, but this tournament is one which is always refered to favourably when football fans get all nostalgic, it’s the sport’s equivalent of being ‘able to leave your backdoor open with no fear of being burgled‘. For the uninitiated or the under 40 The Watney Cup was a tournament held at the start of the season for the team’s who had scored the most goals in each of the four divisions, without being promoted or qualifying for European competitions. Sounds convoluted I know, but the Watney Cup was something of a trailblazer, it was the first competition to have a named sponsor, and the first to feature penalty shoot-outs.
In the 1971 tournament West Brom travelled to play Halifax Town in round two. The Shaymen had beaten Manchester United in the first round and were hopeful of a similar upset against The Baggies. They were not to achieve it, indeed the only shock at The Shay was Halifax’s bizarre orange kit, which was not only too bright for television technology, but also oddly featured large numbers on the front as well as the back. Albion on the other hand appear in classic stripes… over to you Barry Davies